Transitional politics in South Africa: From confrontation to democracy

"This paper is concerned with the politics of transition in South Africa, which is defined as the movement away from apartheid and minority domination towards some form of democracy. This movement is characterised by a process of phased negotiations, in which the key political actors in South Africa are locked in an interdependent relationship. Because the outcome of the process depends on a series of compromises and concessions, it is by its very nature open-ended. This means that even if a settlement is reached, democracy might not automatically follow - South Africa might experience a regression to a new form of autocracy. In the light of these assumptions, the paper tries to look at the meaning of transition and the context within which it applies to South Africa; the role of key political actors and their strategic choices; and possible outcomes to the process. Because transitional politics in South Africa is so fast-moving and unpredictable, the paper focuses on the time period between February 1990 and September 1992."